The retired justice added that there was "merit to that criticism" - that Kavanaugh's fiery, partisan testimony last week demonstrated "a potential for political bias should he serve on the Supreme Court", in the Post's words. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced she will vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, condemning the "gutter-level" debate surrounding his nomination.
Stevens, who's praised Kavanaugh before, says he's changed his mind about Kavanaugh for reasons unrelated to Kavanaugh's "intellectual ability".
"But I think that his performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind", the retired Supreme Court justice said.
"At that time, I thought he had definitely the qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court and should be confirmed if he was ever selected". Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter and Anthony Kennedy, whom Kavanaugh was nominated to replace, have not said anything about the nomination process. "For the good of the court, it's not healthy to get a new justice that can only do a part-time job".
"I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said".
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Stevens also said political leaders and the court have failed to fix the nation's confidence in the judicial branch's separation from the president and the legislature. Though a Republican, he sided with the liberal judges in dissenting on Bush v. Gore.
Stevens, 98 - a lifelong Republican - said "senators should pay attention" after Kavanaugh's fiery denial of sexual misconduct accusations in the Senate Judiciary hearing.
Ford testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in 1982 when both were high school students. An FBI report to the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh by California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford and former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez.
Kavanaugh opponents held nationwide protests on Thursday, including a demonstration across the street from the ABA's headquarters in Chicago. Kavanaugh strongly denied the allegations later in the hearing, calling the hearing a "circus" and sparring with Democrats as they questioned him about his drinking and character.
The Senate advanced Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday, setting up a final vote expected on Saturday.